U.S.A. Today  reported that Americans spent $340 billion on prescription drugs in 2011. That staggering statistic is a reality to millions of people who rely on pharmaceuticals to improve their overall quality of life. Health care reform at the legislative level promises relief from high prescription costs, but few Americans are seeing much savings. Consider five basic tips you can implement to start your personal prescription saving plan.

  1. Order online. Internet-based pharmacies do not have to pay the same overhead as stores with physical locations to maintain. Therefore, they can afford to charge you less for your prescriptions. Many offer discounts for repeat customers as well. Additionally, some insurance companies offer a lower co-pay option for using online pharmacies.
  2. Buy in bulk. Many pharmacies, especially Internet-based ones, will offer discounts on larger quantities. You can also save on prescription co-pays. For example, if your insurance company charges a co-pay of $10 for a 30-day supply and $20 for a 90-day supply, you’ll save $40 over the course of the year by opting for the 90-day supply.
  3. Ask for generic. Selecting the generic version of a drug is a smart choice, often saving 30 to 80 percent. The Federal Drug Administration requires generic pharmaceuticals to have the same active ingredients as their name brand counterparts. Generic drugs are manufactured once a new drug’s patent runs out. The cost is much less because the expensive research and testing was already done and rolled into the cost of the original. Additionally, generics do not advertise, saving millions of dollars each year that can be passed along to the customer.
  4. Get samples. Many doctor’s offices carry samples of prescription drugs. Although you can’t use samples as a long-term solution, it’s a great option if your finances are temporarily tight or if you want to try out a drug before buying it.
  5. Use technology. In today’s mobile world, there’s no lack of conversation on any topic, including prescription drugs. Use social networking sites, read health care blogs, or download an app for your iPhone or iPAD. For example, MedConnections created an iPharmacy app for iPhones, iPADs or Android phones to help consumers manage their health care needs. Users can access a medication guide, get health care news alerts, join a forum or mobile health community, get an electronic prescription discount card, even identify a pill. You can compare your prescription price in nearby pharmacies!  (Tips: some chains store are cheaper than others!) Contact us to learn more about the benefits of this valuable health care resource.

Lastly, if you are still finding it difficult to afford necessary medication, check to see if you qualify for any assistance programs. Drug companies offer Prescription Assistance Programs (PAP) to disadvantaged individuals. PAPs are meant to target people who do not have health insurance, and individuals who do not qualify for government assistance.

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